Two of Our State’s Best Rides

Oh what a weekend! A classical Low rolled through the state last weekend. Two days of strong southwinds on the leading edge of the front followed by two days of W-NW winds as the Low moved up and out of the region. These systems are quite common in the Fall with the jet stream overhead,  what a gift to have such a strong system in August. The strength of the system could be felt statewide as reports of grand sessions came in from north and south. There were some crazy storms that come through Saturday Evening as well, but most riders were off the water by then.

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The buzz was alive about where to go by midweek.  People were throwing out ideas on Facebook and on EOS. There weren’t any bad choices just what kind of water you wanted to ride. I and quite a few others were itching for big water sessions and the opportunity to ride something different. Saturday we headed to Reddy Creek on Mille Lacs. For those of you that haven’t been, Reddy is one of Minnesota’s treasures. On the NE side of Mille Lacs, Reddy offers a narrow beach, shallows a few hundred feet out and in the right direction, can provide some of the cleanest ramps as they jack up on the edge of the sandbar. The sandbar runs all along the North shore so whether your slashing them or boosting over and over…you can go for for miles in either direction. SSW is the best direction, but anything from SE to W work, though Malmo is the better option on Mille for West winds.

Saturday was full on 8-10m. The color of all the kites looked amazing against the neutral grey sky. There was a lot of hooting going on, as everyone was boosting and going off. John Czech was in the water shooting, which brought everyone’s stoke up a level…and level of caution down a level. So much fun. Nothing like being lit and sending your kite back as your carve into the wind across the glossy trough and up the face to just keep going skyward….floating floating…looking for another face to slide back down onto. Mmmm mmm mmm! Could do that all day long.   There were numerous runs down the shoreline following others where it was like popcorn each of us boosting one after another over and over and over.

… to just keep going skyward….floating floating…looking for another face to slide back down onto. Mmmm mmm mmm! Could do that all day long.

The swells and waves got cleaner and cleaner with the day. So much fun ripping upwind then finding the birth of a biggie and carving back and forth on her as she marched toward shore. The slight changes in the lake bottom create some really nice areas where the big ones roll in….so much fun.

Packed up and headed out just as the first line of storms rolled through. A few of us stopped for pizza in Garrison, then the second line hit. A powerful end to a powerful day.

I slept in on Sunday. I was beyond tired. Texts started flying around about what would be the lake of choice for Sunday. Those that were not able to make Saturday, were itching to get on the water early. I had been eyeing Pepin all week. Pepin is one of the special gems of Minnesota. Flanked by bluffs on both sides, Pepin can provide Gorge of the Midwest conditions…barges and all. Pepin is best when you have a consistent wind from one direction for a long period of time.  The lake itself does a bit of a stairstep with long stretches running in one direction before a bend. It can work in many directions if the wind lines up with one of these long stretches. When the wind is going against the current, like the Gorge, the swells can get huge. Yesterday we were in the town of Pepin, Wisconsin on the south end of the lake. There is a great stretch, about 5 miles, up to Lake City. The launch is sweet, with  large dry bathrooms, decent sized beach, rinse-off shower, and nice grass for folding your kite. The lake is probably 2 miles wide at Pepin City. The Barges roll through on the opposite site of the river so unless you head all the way over there you barely notice them. It was cool seeing them march up the river though, waves spraying up and over the bow.

 

One of the joys of riding Pepin out of the city of Pepin is the breakwall they have to protect their marina (guess that says something about how big it can get on this lake). The breakwall extends out a few hundred feet into the lake and creates a perfect boostatorium downwind as the water is glassy flat, and the wall creates a significant updraft. Yesterday we would rip in there on our 8s, lit out of our mind, in glassy water, slowly carving into the wind and toward the wall…loading, loading, sending the kite…loading loading, then right before shore, booooom, elevator UP!!!! Great peanut gallery sitting on the wall cheering every move. Then you’d take a big sweeping carve out and rip out in the the big rollers. Best of both worlds. Grab your surfboard and the lake was your playground.  So much nicer riding surfboards on big water.

…loading loading, then right before shore, booooom, elevator UP!!!

The sky changed the scene thoughout the day. Nothing like those big patches of sun on the water shimmering brightly, that roll down the lake. Or the sun that illiminates the green lush shoreline with its magestic bluffs. The clouds overhead added to the sense of this strange new land that we were exploring.

There was quite a crew down there. Locals Stroh and Jason Yetley were joined by Gary Renstrom, Chad (2), Randy, Keith, Bill, Geo, Kevin N, Roger, Reds, Bryan, and Kelly.

Big thanks go out to the Breakwater in Pepin for hosting us post session and sharing our stoke for the ride. They offer great sailboat cruises for anyone looking for that romantic thing to do. http://www.sailpepin.com

Also a big shout out to Bruce Reuter for taking some great shots of us all.

Below are a few galleries. Some of Bruce’s, some of mine, some of Randy Lindorff’s.  The Reddy Creek Gallery is from Hunter Welles.  Thanks guys for adding to the stoke.

As always, LIKE, SHARE, all you want. If you grab an image out of one of our Galleries please give the photographer or EOS a photo cred.

GALLERY 1 of 2  PEPIN

by Bruce Reuter, Tighe, Randy Lindorff

GALLERY 2 of 2  REDDY CREEK, Lake Mille Lacs

by Hunter Welles

About the author

Tighe

Tighe Belden has been riding the wind for over 30 years. He has been active in the windsport community for over 3 decades, as an instructor, event coordinator, creator of Lakawa and now End of Session, and stokes people on the latest gear as a Tech Ambassador for Slingshot Sports.

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